Entitled, selfish and lazy – three words I commonly hear when describing Millennials. As a millennial in the Meetings and Events industry, however, what I see and feel is worlds’ apart from the words above.
On a daily basis, I am meeting ambitious, smart and conscientious young men and women – young men and women who understand what hard work is and are willing to do it to ensure they can grow and develop within this industry. But we still get a bad rep and “entitled, selfish and lazy” are repeated like the annoying chorus of a bad pop song.
I entered the Meetings and Events Industry over 2 years ago and, at 28 years old I am a ‘typical’ millennial. I spent 5 years studying science to Master’s level, qualified as a pharmacist but quickly decided the pharmacy world wasn’t for me.
While some people called me mad, stupid or crazy – I call myself fortunate. I turned my back on a career to explore something entirely different, something that excited me, stimulated me and kept me learning every single day.
I’m lucky enough that this ‘mad’ idea I had while travelling actually paid off. I’ve met amazing people in the Meeting and Events industry who were willing to take a risk on me, willing to invest in my passion as opposed to my experience.
I am fortunate enough to have met great mentors along the way and to have had great managers who understand the importance of personal development in this industry.
However, not everyone is as lucky. So, while I have met some great, bright, smart ambitious young men and women in this industry over the last two years, not many of them seem to be hanging around too long.
I love this industry – the pulse, the pace, the people – but I can’t help but feel that while the corporate world has embraced millennials, the Meetings and Events Industry is still very much ‘an old boy’s club’.
By 2030, millennials will represent nearly 75% of the entire workplace, so it’s imperative that the Meetings and Events Industry adapts to this change.
So, what’s the point of this blog? Well, over a year and a half ago, I had the pleasure in meeting three very like-minded individuals at the ICCA Forum for Young Professionals at IBTM in Barcelona – Anne, Weini and Inés. We quickly became friends and realised that we were all facing the same difficulties in our workplaces. While we all came from different backgrounds, different countries and different cultures, we faced similar barriers within our careers as there was no formal setting for us to have our voices heard.
Initially we thought of starting our own “Young Professionals” section within a large organisation, prepared a proposal and sent it to the Association for feedback. This led to our being asked to speak at the ICCA World Congress in Kuching last November about what it is like as a millennial in the meetings industry, and what makes a company fit for the future employees.
Our session seemed to go down well and we received some really encouraging feedback. This, in turn, led to being asked to speak at a few different events, including IMEX. Since then, we have this network, coming up with content that we can share with other likeminded millennials, and discussing ideas on how companies within the meetings and events industry can adapt to ensure they are ready for millennials.
So this blog is our voice.